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Thesis Defence: Discovery of novel enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of monoterpene indole alkaloids in Camptotheca acuminata

June 18 at 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

A graphic that speaks to Van Hung Bui defending their thesis.

Van Hung Bui, supervised by Dr. Thuy Dang, will defend their thesis titled “Discovery of novel enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of monoterpene indole alkaloids in Camptotheca acuminata” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

An abstract for Van Hung Bui’s thesis is included below.

Defences are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. Registration is not required for in person defences.


Camptotheca acuminata or Happy tree are well known for its production of valuable bioactive
compounds such as terpenoids and alkaloids. Secoyohimbane, heteroyohimbane, and
yohimbane-type alkaloids are some of the plants’ naturally occurring products that have been studied
for their pharmaceutical benefits in other plants but not in C. acuminata. Hence, their biosynthetic
route in this plant remains unknown. Here, bioinformatic analysis and biochemical investigations were
combined to find new enzymes involved in secoyohimbane, heteroyohimbane, and yohimbane
alkaloid biosynthesis in C. acuminata. Six gene-encoding enzymes were identified, four of which
converted strictosidine aglycone to the new secoyohimbane, heteroyohimbane, and yohimbane-type
alkaloids. Further structural investigation reveals essential residues in the active site that are
responsible for their activities. The discovery of new yohimbane and heteroyohimbane synthases in C.
acuminata sheds more insight into understanding alkaloid biosynthesis in C. acuminata and paves the
way to the production of new alkaloids with potential therapeutic properties.


June 18
10:00 am - 2:00 pm


Campus Administration Building (ADM)
1138 Alumni Ave
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7 Canada
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Additional Info

Room Number
ADM 101
Registration/RSVP Required
Event Type
Thesis Defence
Research and Innovation, Science, Technology and Engineering
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Families, Partners and Industry, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates